Top 5 Starter Jdramas for Dudes

by mo on 02/21/2010

Are you a guy who’s never seen many (or any!) jdramas? This article is for YOU.

I’ve been into jdramas (Japanese dramas) for 3+ years now and I love any opportunity I get to spread the jdrama joy. As I’m a Computer Science major, about 90% of the people I meet and interact with on a daily basis are guys. Over the past couple of years, I’ve had quite a few requests for jdrama recommendations… all from guys. Since a lot of jdramas are romantic and more girl-oriented, I wasn’t sure at first which to recommend. Here’s the list I tend to recommend to guys (and they’ve reported back that they liked). All five are superb shows by the way, and everyone (not just guys) should watch them.

Oh, and one note before we start: A lot of the clips have non-english subs. Apologies to those of you who don’t speak either Japanese or the language the clip is subbed in. All of these jdramas should be readily available with subs, though… so don’t let that stop you.

Here we go!

1. Kekkon Dekinai Otoko
The pitch: Neurotic architect resists pressure to get married… or eat anything except for steak.

More info: Kuwano is nearing 40. He lives alone in an insanely neat and clean apartment. He cooks himself steak for dinner every night, and has a glass of milk. He is an architect obsessed with creating wonderful kitchens. He hates people, has no intention of getting married. However… he’s a little anal, some health issues take him to the doctor, involving his next-door-neighbor, who won’t leave him alone. Hilarity ensues. I promise.

Why it’s fun: Ken-chan, Kuwano’s neighbor’s dog, is probably the best actor you’ll ever see.

Kuwano’s neighbor and doctor spy on him doing something unbelievable…

Kuwano and his architecture assistant obsessively read the blog of their architect-competitor

Ken-chan (the dog), about to be in BIG TROUBLE

Sample: Kuwano is uhh… a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to making okonomiyaki.

2. My Boss My Hero
The pitch: Yakuza boss goes back to high school.


More Info: Makio (Nagase Tomoya) is in line to become a yakuza boss. Unfortunately, he’s not the brightest crayon in the box, so his father (a current yakuza boss) insists that he go back and graduate high school. Makio becomes a high schooler by day, and a yakuza member at night (when not doing his homework, kanji practice and arithmetic).

Why it’s fun: You get to hear Makio’s aggressive, yakuza-speech style thoughts that go through his head while sitting through class… and become completely worthless around his cute, adorable crush played by Aragaki Yui <3 myboss3
Makio is sure one intimidating gangster. He has this facial expression for 90% of the show.

Night job = YAKUZA aka intimidating people.

But Aragaki Yui is still TERRIFYING

Sample clip: Let’s just say getting the pudding at lunchtime is VERY IMPORTANT to everyone… including Makio.

3. Stand Up!!
The pitch: 4 dudes find out they’re the last virgins in high school… and go on a mission to change that fact. Maybe.

More Info: The story is set in a low-ish class Tokyo neighborhood. One of the 4 boys’ families runs a love hotel. One boy has a hopeless crush on their extremely attractive english teacher. A girl, Chie, comes back to town for the summer and awkwardness ensues. (Also, these 4 main characters are all major stars now, FYI).

Why it’s fun: Do you know how to insult a dude by calling him a virgin in Japanese? Well, you will.


Sample: Uhh… kissing practice?

4. Kisarazu Cat’s Eye
The pitch: Baseball player finds out he’s dying of cancer, his team decides to become burglars!

Summary: This show surpasses description. It moves at 1000 miles a minute and you will probably be left in the dust. In a good way. Also, there are TWO movies.

Why it’s fun: Probably just Sato Ryuta’s hair. Oh right, and EVERYTHING ELSE. This show is hilarious.

Sample: The baseball team visits Tokyo!

5. Nodame Cantabile
The pitch: Messy spaz / brilliant pianist Nodame goes to music school, studies under uptight aspiring conductor. Hilarity ensues.


More Info: This one is a pretty famous drama based off the manga of the same title (there’s an anime too which is totally not worth watching, IMO). Technically, Nodame is a love story, but the music (primarily orchestral) is the major thrust of the drama. It’s cute, a little cartoonish due to its origin in manga, and very good. Great music selections too. If you’ve ever played a musical instrument, this drama is a must-see (and even if you haven’t played one, really…)

Why it’s fun: Nodame is insane. GYABO!


Sample: Chiaki shows Nodame how this whole cooking thang is DONE!

Thanks for stopping by! Hope this list helped direct you towards a jdrama you’ll get completely hooked on. To all the guys who watch jdramas out there, let me know if you have a favorite that should have been on this list!

This post was a submission for the February 2010 Japan Blog Matsuri hosted at Muza-chan’s Gate to Japan.